TODAY   |  November 25, 2013

Keep your holiday from going to the dogs (politely)

Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman discusses why you should bring a gift when invited to a holiday dinner and how you can politely tell guests you don’t want their dog to show up at a family gathering.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> all right, we're back with more today on this fun-day monday. with thanksgiving and hanukkah just days away , we could always use a little refresher when it comes to our holiday manners.

>> here's someone to answer all your holiday etiquette questions, diane.

>> and we already learned something. we're not supposed to put our napkin on our lap until the hostess does. i didn't know that.

>> i'll put my napkin on my lap. now you can. do i bring a hostess gift? hostess gifts are a big challenge. that's what i get asked this time of year.

>> i usually bring a bottle of wine or champaishachampagne or something.

>> you definitely bring something because it shows you're excited about coming over. but there's a difference between a holiday gift and a host gift around the holidays.

>> what should you not bring?

>> don't bring chilled bottles of wine. if i bring you a chilled bottle of wine, i want you to serve it. stinky hand cream or body lotion . when i say smelly, you know that strong stuff that you buy -- do you like it?

>> if it's in a container, you don't smell it, do you?

>> what if i don't like that scent? you're just kind of thinking ahead a little bit. and flowers. flowers sound like a great idea until you hand your host some flowers and she has to cut them and put them in a vase, so have them delivered. be creative. monogrammed napkins are lovely because you're thinking of the host.

>> charmin has a question.

>> what's your question, hon?

>> here's my question. if i hosted a family dinner for several families with young children, should the children be seated at a kids' table, or should they sit together with their parents?

>> i think kids' tables are great if they're done the right way. so if there's only two kids, but them at the main table because then they feel os tra sized or punished. but a kids' table should be set up just as beautifully as the adult table. it could be appropriate utensils, and if it's fine china , you may not want to put that fine china for the three-year-old kids, but make it fun. butcher paper , craft paper, let them draw.

>> crayons in the wine glass .

>> exactly. little buckets of crayons. make sure their food is cut up accordingly. if mom isn't going to be able to jump up back and forth.

>> they have more fun together than they do listening to uncle george talking about his indigestion.

>> we've been talking about a dog. say you have a dog and you're going to someone's house. can kathy bring bambino to your house for thanksgiving?

>> if kathie brings bambino , she should call me first. if i don't want bambino because i'm allergic --

>> he's hypo-allergenic.

>> i don't want to offend kathie lee , so i might say, could you find someone who could take care of good bambino ?

>> would you go?

>> i like being with him more than most people, so i would probably stay home and eat a dr drumstick.

>> here's an alternative. i'm going to make bambino a home away from home. i'm going to make a little bed for bambino .

>> for the most part, just get permission from the host. if you're spending a holiday weekend, it's one thing if you can't keep your dog at home.

>> there could be extenuating circumstances. the family could be allergic, a fellow guest might have said don't let bambino come.

>> what about bringing a dish? you want to bring something and you show up with your favorite casserole.

>> don't show up with your steaming pot of succotash stew and expect them to put it on the table. you're going to call ahead and ask, do you mind if i bring something? the host might say no because she's planning the menu.

>> a lot of thought might have gone into it.

>> i would be like, thank you very much.

>> she is always gracious and always grateful, too. it's a lovely way to be.

>> deal with it!

>> so you know what, hoda, you would put it on the table because that would be the kind thing to do.

>> you know what the really kind thing to do would be? if you gave us some food, diane.

>> here's some food and always pass it to the right.

>> you can go to

>> only serve the bread from the right? i've been doing it wrong all this time.